Friday, 29 August 2014, 1:09 am

A spike in the right direction for Knights

Nathan Snippe, 15, jumps for a spike against the Redeemer Royals. PHOTO BY PAM HERBERTBy JAMES HERBERT
Staff Writer
With the end of the regular season in sight, the Niagara Knights men’s volleyball team is putting the past behind it and moving forward to the Ontario Collegiate Athletics Association (OCAA) tournament.
It has been an interesting season for the Knights, who cruised through the first half of the 2013-2014 season without a loss. They were 11-0 by mid-January, but hit a rough patch and lost three games in a row.
On Jan. 29, they pulled off another win, defeating the Redeemer Royals, Redeemer University of Hamilton’s team, 3-0 at home.
Sunday night saw the Knights played at St. Clair College of Toronto. That team took the game 3-2, leaving the Knights with a 12 wins and four losses record.
With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Knights are ranked in fifth place in the OCAA, although they have the same number of points as fourth-place Fanshawe College, of London, and third-place Mohawk College, of Hamilton, making the last two games very important for Niagara.
“Going into the last few games of the season we will try to keep our groove and play our best,” says Bailey Cocherane, the Knights’ leading digger and libero. “Our team is undergoing a few guys out with injuries, so some differences may be who is on the court and bench.”
Daniel Groenveld, the Knights’ leading attacker, says the team is looking forward to the upcoming tournament. “Our team will continue to improve on the little things we do best and continue to strive to be in our best form for the tournament and playoffs.”
The OCAA tournament runs Feb. 20 to Feb. 22, and is hosted by Georgian College, of Barrie, this year.  The top two teams from this tournament will play in the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association tournament, to be played at Briercrest College of Moose Jaw, Sask., from March 5 to 8.
“There are definitely a lot of good teams out there,” says Groenveld. “Humber, Fanshawe and Mohawk are all playing really well right now, and there are a few from the east that could prove to be tough. It should be a really good tournament if all teams are at their best.”
The Collegiate tournament features two teams from the OCAA, the Pacific Western Athletic Association, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association and the Reseau du Sport Etudiant du Quebec.
Cocherane says the OCAA tournament is going to be a fight. “Every team there wants to win, and especially beat us. After having the best first half of any team this season we put a bullseye on our heads. But, that’s exactly what we want.
We are ready to play the best that Ontario has to offer.”

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